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Old Settlers Meeting at Paris (Crossing)
Vernon Banner - July 28, 1880

    The Old Settlers' meetings, at Paris, have become noted for their success, and pleasant reunions which attend them. The one held last Saturday proved to be even more of a success than the previous ones. Not less than five thousand people were present, and everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy the occasion. The day was one of the lovliest of the season, and it seemed as if nature put her kindliest face to greet the pioneers of bygone days. The meeting was held in a beautiful grove near the railway depot. The exercises of the day were opened by a son by the choir, followed by prayer by the chaplain, Rev. A. W. Hill. Prof. Cravens, of Lancaster, made the opening speech, which was well received by the audience. This was succeeded by some stirring music by the Vernon band, and a song by the choir.-Mr. Zebediah Lloyd, a white haired pioneer of Jefferson county gave some reminiscences of pioneer life, and pleasant words for the present times. He was succeeded by Col. Andrews, of North Vernon, who spoke in his usual entertaining manner. Mr. Lloyd then reappeared with some old time relics, which were great curiosities to the younger people, and pleasant reminders of the past to the old settlers present. Mr. Vatin Smith, of Kent, then gave an entertaining address, which was followed by some fine music by the band. Dinner was then announced, and as in day of old a multitude of five thousand people was fed in the wilderness. After a happy hour of feasting and social intercourse, the band struck up an air, calling the people around the stand, to hear the reminiscences of long ago, and the words of kindly advice from the lips of Uncle Billy Deputy, the oldest person present. Uncle Billy spoke with vigor and his hosts of friends were glad to see him still so strong despite his length of years. We print his speech entire. After a fine song by the choir, Mr. Geo. Swarthout delivered the closing speech of the day, speaking in his usual strong and pleasing style. Then came a contest, for a silver cup, between the Madison and Vernon bands, in which the latter came off victorious by their superior playing. The Vernon boys had no previous knowledge of the pending contest, but proved themselves ready for the occasion. Mr. J. B. Smith, of Queensville, Prof. Whitsett of Deputy, and N.B. McKay, of Madison, were the judges, and unanimously awarded the prize. The people of the Paris neighborhood are to be warmly congratulated on the flattering success which attends their annual reunions of the Old Settlers. Each meeting seems to be an improvement on the last, and we hope next year may show no ebb in the interest taken in these pleasant meetings.

Of Paris, Indiana
Delivered at the Old Settler's Meeting held at Paris Crossing, Ind., on the 24th day of July, 1880,

Ladies and Gentlemen:
    I come on the stand this evening to try to give you a few outlines of the history of my life. But a few minutes were allowed me to do this, therefore I can but give you a condensed scrap, it must be here a little and there a little, but I will do the best I can. It will say to you that I was born in West Virginia, on the 5th day of September, 1807. In the fall of 1810, my father got in the notion to go to the Indiana Territory. He built a flat boat put his family, horses, farming and cooking utensils on board, and left to seek a home in the wilderness. We glided down the Ohio river, landed at Cooper's Ferry, five miles below Madison, on the 2nd day of November, 1810. We moved out straightway, and stopped in the Coffee Creek Valley; put up a cabin, moved into it. And I would say our surroundings were of the lonesomest kind mixed with seen and unseen danger. I do not know how any one with less courage than a tiger could have stood it. My parents were religious people. They must have had their eye on the good promises of the good book. Tecumseh was now preparing for war. He had taken up the hatchet, and said he would never lay it down until death or victory. You may imagine the dangers for I havn’t time to tell them to you. When the evening shades would come on we would go in the cabin and shut the door. The foxes began to bark, the wolves howl, the panthers mew and the whippoorwill cry from the dark forest. If their ain't some loneliness I miss my guess. I pass.
     On the 10th day of June father died an left mother and six little children to combat with the world as well as we could. Now ladies, if mother didn't have a trial I don't know who did. She was way in the West, six or seven hundred miles from father or mother, brother or sister, in a little cabin in the wilderness, with six little children. Mother was a woman of good courage. Mother learned us to work to help make a living. We made a good living by work not by wit. Mother kept her head up and her trust in the Lord. I have heard her sing "The more I pray the happier I am, and I love God glory hallelujah" I was raised in the bleak winds of winter and under a hot sun in summer, not in a school house. I was raised to work when I was little. I have thought if we are raised to work when little, won't dread it when big. I will say to you I have had no opportunity of an education. You must look over my way of speaking. I pass to notice that I promised you in the outset. Now the Indians are all gone; plenty of neighbors; big farm cleared, so we had plenty and lived at home; and by this time I thought myself a man. I mounted a horse and went to Jeffersonville in March, 1827, and bought me a piece of land. I came home, made a deadening on it, and by this time we had to go to plowing. We tilled a crop, gathered in our harvest; by this time it was toward the last of July. I went to my land to clear off a spot. I came across a straight tree. I cut it down, cut off eighteen feet long, and squared it up nicely, and the first fellow that come along declared it was a house leg, so the news flew around the neighborhood like fire in dry grass. So the first old woman that come to our house after that wanted to plague me a little. She said to me "you are going to take a woman are you?" I said to her "that's my notion" Well, said she, "such a one has got her cap set for you." That was good news to me that some lady had a cap set for me. This was the first Monday of August, 27. One month after I was twenty years old so the first day of the month, first day of the week, and early in the morning, I went to the barn and brought out a horse, put a saddle on him, and started to hunt me a wife. You may know I was in earnest to start on Monday, and early in the morning. I told mother I was going to the election in Jefferson county, and would be back that evening. I sped away. I stopped at a house within eighty rods of where the election was held. I went in. The girls looked friendly, the old folks too. There were three girls. I had my eye on one of them. We were well acquainted. The boys put my horse in the stall. I told them to lay my saddle on the grass; I would use it soon. I walked with the boys to the election, though little did I care for the election. While we were at the election a big rain came up. The old lady says to the girls; "Which of you claims him must bring in his saddle." So neither of them moved a peg. It began to rain, and the girl that I had my eye on went out, picked up my saddle, and come walking in with it. The other girls laughing at her, seeing her so sober; seeing her so plagued, the laughed the more. When I came back these two girls had such a good joke. By the way. I found out this girl that I had my eye on claimed me. I thought then surely the Lord is on my side. I said to myself "just as sure as the grapes grow on the vine you are mine" I went home in a good humor, went out to cut house logs in earnest, and on the 5th day of September, '27, I raised my cabin on the very day I was twenty years old, and on the 15th day of November, 1827, we were married, and the 26th day we moved home in the green woods. I was an able bodied young man. I could move almost anything that come before me. I took ax and mattock, and went out in the woods and slew every tree, big and little, that stood on five acres and thirty two square rods of land that winter and spring. When Spring came the sun would shine down upon us, when night come, I took a seat on my shoe bench, made two pairs of shoes a week of nights, for which I got three days work, that made my weeks nine days long, instead of six. Now, I went to plowing. I soon bought one of my neighbors out. That added a little to my farm, and soon another, that added a little more, which made 240 acres. I soon traded my 240 acres for 140, and got $650 to boot. I did not like the idea of coming down on acres. I moved to my 140. I kept on working. A neighbor had 50 acres he wanted to sell. I bought it. That made me 190. Another neighbor had 175 acres to sell. I bought it. That made me 365. Another had 136. I bought it. Another had 120. I bought it. Another had 80. I bought it; paid for it all. I had a score of horses, and more than four score of cattle. So it took all my time and mind to manage my farm and stock. I was very worldly minded. I knew I had a soul to be saved or lost; but was not ready to-day; I would put it off till next week. I was not ready then. I wanted to accomplish something else first. I said to myself: "God, thou knowest my foolishness, and my sins are not hid from Thee;" and I felt myself as a leaf before the blast. I felt that I might be cut off in an hour, and my doom fixed forever. I saw the promises in the Bible for the Godly and the ungodly. There was not a good promise for me unless I would turn to the Lord and repent of my sins. He says "The way of the ungodly shall perish;" "The ungodly are like the chaff that the wind driveth away;" "Thou hast rebuked the heathen. Thou has put out their name forever and ever." "Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and a horrible tempest, and this shall be the portion of their cup." These promises are enough to make a thinking man tremble. I now made up my mind to seek and serve God, and try to sow to the Spirit, that of the Spirit I might reap life everlasting. I now went humbly to the Lord, pleading with him to forgive all my sins, wean my affections from the world, and place them in Heaven. I felt that the Lord heard my petitions, and forgave my sins. I was then happy in the Lord. I felt then if I lived faithful to the end, standing at my post, bearing the crow, that the Lord would give me so good humble seat at his right hand in Heaven. Then I felt that I would be with Jesus; be with the good angels; with the happified. Sanctified and glorified, and range the new Jerusalem, and sing the hallelujahs to God and the Lamb while eternity rolls. Friends, serve God! A word to the worldly minded: A goodly hope of living with Jesus in Heaven will give you more real enjoyment than every acre of land or every dollar I ever had. Consider this. I pass.
    I moved to Paris the 2nd day of September, 1832. I owned and lived in the big house that Henry Dixon now lives in. The railroad company got hold of me, and got six thousand dollars out of me. I never got discouraged. I held my head up and worked away. I believe it is man's duty to work, and do all the good in this world he can. I would have like to have said many other things, scattered along through my little history, but time wouldn't allow it. Time passes, and on the 14th day of April, 1861, I believe it was that Fort Sumpter was fired upon. The President calls for 75,000 men and on the 19th day of April, drums beat for volunteers, and one of my sons enlisted. I joined the home guards; uniformed and drilled. War progressed and on the 22nd day of May, 1862, I got a dispatch that my son was hopeless, and on the morning of the 23rd I got on a train and started for Washington City, and on the 24th I was at Harper's Ferry, at the time of Bank's retreat, and on the same evening I was in the Patent Office, in Washington, which was used for a hospital. My son was dead. The boys of his company had him embalmed and sent home. This was in the morning before I got there in the evening, and on the 25th night I was at the Relay House, and the 26th morning I saw a long train of cars loaded with men and muskets, cannon and ball, harnessed horses and wagons running with speed of the wind to battle, and I heard one man swear he was bullet proof. I thought then that this world was wrecked. The cloud was getting darker and darker, death and destruction coming nearer and nearer. I thought men looked more like tigers and leopards than human beings, so eager to drench the earth in human blood. I hope I may never see the like again. This was on the 26th morning of May 1862. We come to Harper's Ferry and the rebels had possession of the road to Martinsburg, so we went back to Washington. When I was in the Patent Office I looked out of the window over the Patomic towards Fairfax Court House, I was at the Navy Yard, three miles below Washington City on the Patomac. I looked in the whole of the Capital. I saw Washington's Monument at Baltimore, stuck way up yonder, high enough to make your head swim if you were to look down. On the 28th of May I was on the top of the Allegheny mountains. I came home. War still raged and the home guards were wanted to guard the prisoners at Indianapolis, and at the call, and at the age of 55, I started up on the 26th day of July, 1863(2) for Camp Morton in the United States Service. The company wanted me and my son to cook for the whole company, and they would release us from duty, and give us fifty cents each a month. We cooked for one month and then went on duty. I have stood on my beat in the bull pen near the Comisary, as dark a night as I ever say, with musket on my shoulder, and a navy revolver at my side, when the winds blew, and the thunders roared, and the vivid lightnings flashed, and the rain pouring in torrents. I thought then that this world was in a great commotion. On the first day of September, 1863(2), the prisoners were exchanged and sent to Dixie, and on the 2nd day we came home. War still raged. On the 14th day of July, 1863, Morgan's army of 5,000 marched through Paris, waving their caps and swearing they could whip the World. I thought every time I heard the like. Oh! World how you are wrecked.
    I would say now in the close that I claim to be the Oldest Settler in Jennings county. I have come through all the perils, privations and hardships of a wilderness life. I have helped to prepare the way smooth for those that may come after me. I have helped to maintain the Government. I feel that my days are almost numbered, my pilgrimage here below wound up. I soon will leave you, but before I leave I would give you a word of advice. A few words first. My wife kept house for me from the 20th day of November, 1827 until the 6th day of February, 1877. Then she laid down the toils and cares of this world, and I trust is at rest in Heaven. I am left behind, but I want to bear the cross till death shall set me free, then go home, a crown to wear. And I would say to you now, this is the last time in all probability, that I will ever meet you under this leafy grove. I will soon go away. You will see me no more, you will hear me no more. Now my advice is to live religious, that your names may be written in the Book of Life, that you may never see the second death, that, when you are called hence, you may go on snowy wings to your immortal home, there to go in to go out no more, and to be forever with the Lord.
    Farwell, farwell! I now return my thanks for your attention.

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